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Sebring Still “In the Plan” for 2024 Despite Qatar Opener

1000 Miles of Sebring still planned for 2024 despite Qatar opening WEC season…

Photo: Gabi Tomescu/WEC

FIA World Endurance Championship boss Frederic Lequien and ACO President Pierre Fillon are adamant that its round at Sebring International Raceway remains “in the plan” despite the addition of Qatar, which will open the 2024 season.

Announced Monday evening in Doha, a six-year deal was agreed for the world championship to race at Lusail International Circuit, in what’s believed to be a late February or early March date.

Lequien told reporters that they would need a minimum three-week gap between races in order to have enough time to air-freight cars from the Middle East to Florida.

“We will manage that,” he said. “Frankly speaking, it’s too early to give precise answers. We can do it but the question is about logistics. We are working on it.

“We can still go back to Sebring or in the U.S. Of course, the U.S. is very important for us, so [there’s] no question to cancel a round in the U.S.

“Absolutely, I want to insist, Sebring is in the plan at the moment. It’s planned for 2024. ”

Fillon shared the same sentiment, hinting that a season start in early March could be possible.

“Sebring will stay on the calendar in March,” he told Sportscar365. “You can begin the season at the beginning of March, as Formula 1 does.

“Start here in [Qatar] in the beginning of March, then after that Sebring and so on.”

It’s understood the WEC’s contract with Sebring to hold a 1000-mile race on the Friday prior to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is up for renewal following next year’s third edition.

A number of other venues have been floated as possible U.S. rounds in the future, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, in what would be standalone events.

Lequien, however, dismissed such speculation, insisting that Sebring remains the plan for the time being.

“The question now is to set up a good calendar for everyone,” he said. “For the competitors, for the logistics, etc.

“We will see when and how the race in the U.S. will happen. But we will have one. At the moment, I don’t want to discuss [other options]. It’s only about Sebring at the moment.

“We are in super good relations with IMSA. We are talking to them almost every week and it’s clear at the moment, they know we’re going to open the season in the Middle East and we’ll see.

“I think the calendar will move year after year. What we have today may be different in two years. We are talking for 2024.”

Lequien confirmed that the 2024-2029 WEC seasons will all begin in Qatar, as it’s “part of the contract” with the promoter in the same way that Bahrain International Circuit closes out the year.

While the WEC is set to return to eight rounds in 2024, Lequien, meanwhile, said he couldn’t see the globe-trotting championship expand beyond nine or ten races in the future.

He said: “They are at least six-hour races so we have to pay attention to the teams’ budgets, we have to pay attention to the logistics, and look at the 2022 calendar and how difficult it was to build it in trying to avoid some clashes.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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